Asbestos is not a man-made material, it is a mineral found naturally inside of the earth and extracted through a mining process. In the late 1800s, many American companies began using asbestos in products or processes because of its natural fire-resistant abilities, coupled with the fact that it was inexpensive to mine or obtain. Below are a few products that are known to have contained asbestos.
Asbestos Construction Products
Asbestos was used in construction products such as pipe lagging, furnace cement, wall panels, ceiling tiles, joint compound, caulk, roofing materials, cement siding, and strong glue for interior fixtures. The insulation or fabric around your home’s boiler or HVAC system may also contain asbestos. It may also be in the electrical components of your home, such as panels, shielding, wire insulation, cable wrap, and flash guards. Asbestos gaskets were often used for joining pumps, valves, turbines, boilers, and other machinery to pipes, and asbestos packing was used around the stems of valves and in the glands of pumps. Asbestos was also commonly used in insulation products like pipe-wrap, loose-fill insulation between walls, acoustic tiles, and soundproof insulation.
Asbestos Containing Fabrics
Asbestos was used in fabrics to make them fireproof, such as protective clothing for firefighters and race car drivers, and fireproof blankets for welders and other tradesmen.
Asbestos Containing Car Parts & Aviation
Carmakers have utilized asbestos in vehicle parts such as brake pads and clutches, as it was popularly combined with plastic to mitigate risks of flammability. Carmakers, such as General Motors (GM), frequently used asbestos-containing parts in their automobiles. Manufacturers of airplanes and helicopters also used asbestos due to its lightweight and durable qualities.
Asbestos Containing Home and Hygiene Products
Asbestos has also been used in a number of personal home products. Cigarette filters made by Kent in the 1950s contained asbestos. Kitchen products like potholders, ashtrays, hairdryers, and cooking appliances all contained asbestos for its heat retention and flame-resistant abilities. Asbestos was also used in fake snow in Christmas decorations, such as Christmas tree flocking. Perhaps most disturbing is that many cosmetic products that contained talcum powder, such as baby powder, also contained asbestos. Talc is a powder that can provide a soft texture and reduce moisture, however, it is often mined in locations which naturally contain asbestos.
Asbestos is abundant and occurs naturally throughout the world. Its fibrous nature allows it to be pulled apart and worked into desired shapes. It is extremely durable and resistant to electricity, heat, and corrosion. Unfortunately, asbestos is also a carcinogen. Its particles cannot be digested by the human body once inhaled, and so they become trapped in the lungs, causing inflammation, scarring, and even cancer.
It may be hard to believe, but asbestos is not fully banned in the United States. Although there are no longer active asbestos mines in the USA, and it is mostly prohibited from use in new products, there are some active asbestos mines in Canada and a few products in the USA that are still made with asbestos. This means that millions of products made through the 1970s, and well into the 1980s (depending upon the product type), contained asbestos, and are still in place throughout the country. Most local jurisdictions have regulations specifically for the management of asbestos in residential dwellings and commercial buildings, but asbestos still persists in older construction.
Many people are aware that they have been exposed to asbestos, however, others have no idea until they are diagnosed with mesothelioma, or even lung cancer. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any kind of mesothelioma or lung cancer, call The Meso Law Firm today for a free and confidential consultation.